When I was a kid, I used to say that I wanted to live in Nashville.
Yeah, I don’t know why I picked Nashville. We came through here a lot on the opening leg of most family vacations; I love me some Opryland back in the day; and Nashville just seemed like a small town wrapped up in a big city. So while most people my age were dreaming about getting out of Bernie however they could and going to St. Louis or New York or Atlanta or Away, I was pretty happy and content to be where I was and dream that one day, I might live in Nashville.
So, it was kind of funny when I got accepted at Vandy and moved here in the summer of 2001. The girl who was perfectly happy in her rural hometown was getting a chance to live in the city she said she’d always want to live in. I got what I wanted. I got Nashville.
I thought about all that this morning as I drove to work, the sun rising slowly over the city, the familiar skyline taking shape in front of me. I love the city in those moments when it’s still asleep, just barely waking, lights coming on, Christmas lights twinkling on 2nd Avenue, the neon sign at Hatch Show Print blaring into the barely lighted sky. I love to drive into downtown on 4th Avenue, glimpsing the pedestrian bridge and the Coliseum rising up from its perch beside the Cumberland. I love the Ryman in its stately beauty and old buildings repurposed for new uses. I love those moments when I stop—just stop—to realize that I got what I wanted and it’s good. Sure, there are things tinged with grief—the loss of my grandmother, dreams yet realized, fears about the future—but these days, I’m wise enough to recognize that most completely happy moments are balanced by the sad ones.
And life, in the good times and the bad, is a journey that’s meant to be experienced.
So, here’s to the experience today. Enjoy, feel, cry, smile, live.